Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Reminder to Contractors Regarding Iraqi Jurisdiction

Staff Report Embassy Baghdad
NUMBER: 009-336
SUBJECT: Reminder to Contractors Regarding Iraqi Jurisdiction
DATE: 07-09-09
TO: USG Contractors and Contracting Officers Representatives under COM Authority
This is a reminder that since January 1, 2009, many of the rules and procedures
governing the activities of the Coalition, the Embassy, and our partner contractors
and grantees (collectively referred to below as “contractors” for simplicity) have
changed. USG contractors operating in Iraq are now subject to Iraqi civil and
criminal law. Contractors’ residences and vehicles may be searched by Iraqi
officials, pursuant to a court order, or under exigent circumstances. Contractors who
violate Iraqi law may also be subject to the Iraqi criminal justice system, as the
Government of Iraq has primary jurisdiction over offenses committed by USG
contractors, even on bases and diplomatic properties. The U.S. Embassy thus urges
contractors to respect and abide by Iraqi law.
Contractors should be aware that possession of illegal drugs (including cannabis,
cannabis resin, and cocaine), possession of pornography, and solicitation of
prostitution are punishable by imprisonment and may carry longer sentences under
Iraqi law than under U.S. law. Distribution of illegal drugs may be punishable by
life imprisonment or execution. Additionally, contractors may be arrested and
prosecuted for carrying weapons without permits or in prohibited areas, such as the
commercial side of Baghdad International Airport.
If a contractor is arrested by Iraqi law enforcement, we recommend that the company
and the individual in question take several steps immediately.
(1) If arrested in the IZ and the arresting authority is not the IZ Police, call
the IZ Police at 0770-444-1757 and inform them of the matter.
(2) Insist on speaking with a consular officer from the individual
contractor’s home country. Iraq has an obligation under international
law to notify your consulate upon request, and the consular officer is
Staff Notice
Embassy Baghdad
entitled to access to you and to provide consular assistance. The
American Citizen Services Office in our Consular Section is ready to
assist American citizen contractors in distress, as they are any other
American in Iraq. They can be contacted at:
a. During regular business hours (0800 – 1200 and 1300 – 1700, Sunday
through Thursday): Email: BaghdadACS@state.gov; telephone:
1-240-553-0581 x2413 (this is a U.S. number that rings in Baghdad)
or Iraqi mobile phone: +964 (0)770-443-0287.
b. For the after-hours emergency American Citizen Services Consular
Duty Officer, please call Iraqi mobile number +964 (0) 770-443-
(3) You, or your company, should immediately notify your contracting
officer. As with other issues regarding your work in Iraq, your
contracting officer should be your primary point of contact with the
United States Government. This is especially true in the case of an
arrested Third Country National contractor whose home government
does not have a diplomatic/consular presence in Iraq. Your contracting
officer will be able to contact appropriate U.S. Embassy personnel, so
that we can track your case and provide appropriate assistance.
(4) Obtain Iraqi legal counsel. We strongly recommend that contracting
companies identify and retain competent local counsel before an incident
occurs, so that they will be available when needed. The Consular Office
has a list of Iraqi attorneys who have expressed a willingness to
represent Americans, but the best source of advice on local counsel is
your fellow contractors. Iraqi law guarantees the right not to be
questioned except in the presence of a judge, the prosecutor, and your
attorney. Iraqi law also guarantees the right to be brought before a judge
within 24 hours of being detained. These rights are translated in Arabic
US Embassy Baghdad is committed to protecting the rights of our citizens and third
country nationals who contribute to our diplomatic, military, and reconstruction
efforts in Iraq. We will continue to engage with the Government of Iraq to ensure
that any USG contractor accused of a crime is treated fairly.
The following is a statement (in Arabic and English) of your rights upon arrest by
Iraqi authorities.
1. ا يٌ هىاطي هي الىلاياث الىلاياث الوخحدة الاهيركيت. طبقا للوادة 36 هي احفاقيت فيي اٌ حىل
العلاقاث الق صٌليت الخي حن حىقيعيها هي قبل العراق والىلاياث الوخحدة الأهيركيت، أطالب بحقىقي وأطلب
الاحصال فىرا بسفارة الىلاياث الوخحدة الاهيركيت لخبليغها بقضيت أعخقالي. يرجى الاحصال بالرقن الاحي:
2. أ يٌ أطالب بحقىقي في ظل القا ىًى العراقي بأى أهثل فىرا أهام قاضي خلال هدة لا حخجاوز 24 ساعت
هي وقج اعخقالي.
3. أ يٌ أطالب بحقىقي في ظل القا ىًى العراقي بأى لا يخن اسخجىابي الا بحضىر القاضي والودعي العام
1. You have a right under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations to
have the Embassy notified immediately. Request notification by the Iraqi
officials. Call 0770-443-2594 (duty consular officer).
2. You have the right to be brought before a judge within 24 hours.
3. You have the right not to be questioned except in the presence of a judge,
the prosecutor, and your attorney.


  1. […] Reminder to Contractors Regarding Iraqi Jurisdiction […]

    Pingback by Hang ‘Em in the Name of Blackwater, a Sign of Iraq’s Sovereignty « Overseas Civilian Contractors | January 23, 2011 | Reply

  2. This mean the money it no more worth put you freedom on the line .what about the none usa contractors

    Comment by julius | January 15, 2012 | Reply

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